From childcare, to socialising and going on holiday: Life in local lockdown explained in Wales

People living in local lockdown should not leave their local area without reasonable excuse to do so. Credit: PA Images

As more areas of Wales go into local lockdown, an increasing amount of people will find themselves living under tighter regulations.

Even if you live outside of a location that has been placed under lockdown, you may still be affected if you have family, work or access childcare inside a restricted area.

The new rules say that people living in an area where local lockdown has been announced cannot leave the area without a reasonable excuse to do so and people can only meet others that they do not live with, outdoors.

Welsh Government have also pleaded with people not to think about what you cannot do "because the law says so, but also about what you should not do because it" risks spreading or contracting coronavirus.

So what do these rules actually mean for people?

  • What is considered a 'reasonable excuse' or 'compassionate grounds'?

One of the rules of local lockdown is that people cannot travel out of, or into, the area affected without reasonable excuse to do so. The Welsh Government says this means you can leave for things like work if you cannot work from home, school and you can leave "to visit family or close friends on compassionate grounds".

Compassionate grounds means you are allowed to travel and visit someone outside of your area in lockdown if they are struggling - physically or mentally - and you are worried about their welfare. This could be if they have an illness like dementia or have suffered a bereavement.

Visits to people living in care homes may fall under this however many areas have restricted care home visits so check with the facility before you travel. Often these visits are only allowed in exceptional circumstances, like end of life situations.

As elderly people are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus, many care homes have taken extra precautions and limited visits. Credit: PA Images
  • Can I still access childcare?

Yes, childcare settings remain open in areas in lockdown. This means you are also allowed to continue to operate if you are a childminder who cares for children within your own home.

It is also considered a reasonable excuse to leave or enter the area to get your child to their care.

  • What about when a family member provides childcare?

If a member of your family, like a grandparent, usually provides your childcare - this can continue and you are allowed to travel to access it.

However this form of childcare is described as a "last resort" where no other provision is available. It is also important to note that when dropping off your child, you should not enter a house that is not your own - so make sure you stay outside and at a social distance.

Similarly, if you are a parent who has shared responsibilities for a child then that child can continue to travel between parental homes.

It is not compulsory for adults to wear face coverings when providing childcare but they should increase hygiene measures like hand washing. Credit: PA Images
  • Who can I socialise with?

Extended households or 'bubbles' no longer exist in areas of local lockdown - even if everyone in the bubble lives in the same area in lockdown. This means you cannot meet up with anyone you do not live with, unless it is outside and at a two-metre social distance.

There is an exception however for people who are living alone in an area that is in lockdown. The First Minister told BBC Breakfast that single-adult households in an area affected can meet indoors, with one other household who is also living in that same area.

Apart from this exception to the rule, you cannot go inside someone else's house and you also cannot go for instance to a pub or restaurant and sit at the same table as people you do not live with.

It is against the law to deliberately meet up with someone you do not live with at an indoor hospitality setting. Welsh Government have warned that if that rule is broken, hospitality businesses may be closed down.

  • But I can meet others outside?

Yes, you can meet with family and friends that you do not live with in groups of up to 30 people, outside and they must all live within the same area in lockdown - so people living outside the area cannot travel in to meet others even if in an outdoor setting.

You should still be social distancing from people you do not live with so you could not sit outside, for instance, in a pub garden at the same table as them unless you are two metres away.

You can still have people over to your garden and they are allowed to walk through your house to access it. However Welsh Government are asking people to "think carefully about whether visits should take place" and, again, anyone coming to your garden should not live outside the area in lockdown.

Some stricter measures have been introduced for the whole of Wales too, such as licensed premises closing at 10:20pm. Credit: PA Images
  • Can I still go to my gym, swimming pool, or play sports?

Gyms, leisure centres and sports activities are still allowed to operate in areas that are in lockdown but only up to 30 people are allowed to gather at one time and social distancing must remain in place.

You should not leave the area for exercise reasons. So if your usual gym or swimming pool is outside the area of lockdown you are living in, you should not be travelling there. There is an exception for professional athletes or sportspeople.

On Friday 9 October, the First Minister announced that children would also now be allowed to leave the locked down area to take part in organised sport activities.

Gyms and centres must also have extra safety measures in place and, as per the rules affecting the whole of Wales, people must wear face coverings in public spaces. This means they are compulsory when walking through foyers, in the changing rooms or preparing to exercise.

Welsh Government do except though that "the layout of the premises and the nature of the exercise" may make it unreasonable to expect someone to wear a face covering - so you can take them off when exercising and when the mask may become damp from sweat or humidity.

Travelling outside the area for sport or exercise is not considered a reasonable excuse to leave. Credit: ITV Wales
  • Can I go shopping for non-essentials?

All shops and businesses can stay open in areas in lockdown, including retail and beauty services.

Pubs, bars and restaurants remain open but licensed premises must close by 10:20pm across the whole of Wales.

You cannot leave the area to shop for things like clothes.

  • What about leaving the area to buy essentials?

You are only allowed to leave the area to buy essential items like food or medicine, if you cannot "reasonably be expected to do this within the area or get them delivered".

This means that if your usual, closest food shop is outside of the area, you are still not allowed to go there if you could make a longer journey within the area to a different food shop.

This also applies to people living outside the area wishing to travel in for essentials - if you can access the same things by making a longer journey outside of the area in lockdown, you should do this instead.

Even if you want to leave the area to buy essential items, you should try and find another shop within the area or get items delivered. Credit: PA Images
  • I have a holiday booked, can I still go?

Put your swimsuit back in the wardrobe - holidays are not considered as a "reasonable excuse" to leave the area.

Things could change before the date you are due to go, but Welsh Government are advising people to contact the companies they have booked with, explain the restrictions against non-essential travel and discuss their options.

You can still travel within your local area but Welsh Government are advising people to "avoid unnecessary travel".

Cardiff Airport, which is in the Vale of Glamorgan says it is remaining open, despite the area being in lockdown.

In a statement, it said, "For those travelling from areas not in lockdown, there are currently no legal restrictions about travelling to the airport, as long as rules are obeyed when they do so.

"Please ensure you check the relevant Welsh Government and UK Government guidance before you travel."

  • I am currently on holiday away from the area, should I come back?

Welsh Government are not advising people cut their holidays short if this will cause disruption but if you left the area shortly before lockdown was announced "ideally" you should "return home as soon as possible".

If you have been gone for some time and you have the ability to stay away, you are allowed to continue to stay outside the area.

Once anyone returns to the area in lockdown, they should stay until the restrictions are lifted.

Anyone arriving back in Wales from abroad should follow advice on self-isolation unless the country they are travelling from is exempt. Credit: PA Images
  • Can I pick up a family member from the airport?

Yes, you can travel to an airport (even if it is outside your local area) to pick up someone you do or do not live with.

Welsh Government do say it "is best to avoid" sharing a car with someone you do not live with but it is not prohibited. They advise that if you must do this, you stay as far apart as possible inside the vehicle and keep the windows down.

  • Can I leave the area to pick up a pet?

Travelling for a pet is not considered a reasonable excuse to leave the area unless there are welfare reasons to do so. So if you need to take your pet to a vet outside of the area, this is allowed.